“Sacrifice - Your role may be thankless, but if you're willing to give it your all, you just might bring success to those who outlast you.” ~ Larry Kersten
In professional contexts, it is not unusual for people to play supporting roles to other people's goals. The stars that we idolize would not be the shining stars we revere them to be if it weren't for all the behind-the-scenes people that play their position to make it happen. For example - Jennifer Lopez could not have possibly been named "The Sexiest Woman Alive" if it weren't for her personal trainer, make-up artist, wardrobe stylist and personal assistant. Being a celebrity does not happen all by itself, it is usually a team of many all working towards a common goal with ONE person, with a special talent, hailed as the spokesperson of the brand that bears their name. Would Drake be the Drake we know and worship if it weren't for the brilliance of Boi-1da or the loyalty of Future the Prince? Everybody in front always has people behind them, supporting them, coaching them, even guiding them. But they are never the ones whose names get called when announcing the Awards nominees. They are never the ones who get called on for endorsement deals. The paparazzi doesn't even bother with them, even if they were caught car surfing in their underwear. Generally speaking, there are a lot of private thank-you's but no credit is given.
Sometimes, that dynamic of unconditional support exists in personal relationships as well. Ever counselled a friend going through a rocky patch in their relationship with hundreds of romantic gestures to try and rekindle the spark in an extinguishing romance? Then when one of the suggestions miraculously works, and your friend is now making plans to renew vows with their mate, you're not even invited to the ceremony because your friend doesn't want to give you any credit for saving their relationship? (Wow, that was a very specific example...you'd think that sh*t had happened to me personally, ;p). There are lots of situations where we go out of our way to help others, and when it comes time to relay the story of how this or that crisis was averted, your name is nowhere in the history books.
I have a friend who lost her driver's license in a heroic attempt to take the fall for a serious driving infraction committed by her very famous friend. In the heat of the moment, a decision has to be made about who better to take the fall, and in this case where the more successful and famous friend was in the hot seat, it made sense (and I'm sure many of us would have done the same thing) to throw ourselves into the fire lest we cut the dream short. I have another friend who took the blame in a childhood heist that resulted in serious charges facing jail time. Best friends would do anything for each other, and when the sh*t really hit the fan, the friend with the more lenient parents (or maybe just a more reckless attitude) took the fall for the friend who probably would have been disowned by his family. As a result, some 13 years later, that conviction continues to present challenges in my friend's life. The situation is rarely discussed, and because of the pledge of solidarity, it's not like my friend will ever get the "credit" he deserves.
In my life, both professionally and personally - I coach people, gift them with money-making ideas, tirelessly offer up my time to assist with their projects, make myself available for support, guidance, rescue, or all of the above, and for me it is just my 2nd nature to want to be helpful. Being a provider, nurturer, sounding board, purse, decision-maker, confidante, strategist, etc. certainly bears a lot of fruit (usually for everybody but me), but I get it. I understand that some jobs are just thankless. There's a lot of danger in being a "giver" all the time. It can easily lead to people taking advantage of you or taking you for granted. When it gets to that, it can be very damaging to relationships.
Credit does not have to be an over the top gesture. Producers of blockbuster films are satisfied with the one little mention at the END of the movie, it's not much compared to their contribution to the film, but it's enough. In real life, no one's looking for a plaque or a medal, but it would be nice, if when the story is told of who stood by whom when the going got tough, of who bailed whom out when nobody else would come, of who stood in solidarity with whom when the World pelted eggs, that if someone was instrumental in saving someone's ass - that a little credit is given. Especially when doling out recognitions and praises to all the Tom, Dick's and Harry's that did nothing but just looks good to include them.
Remember, when helping someone else - it has to be a selfless act, so in other words, BECAUSE YOU WANT TO. But if you were the beneficiary of great kindness and support, perhaps you should remember to give a little credit, BECAUSE YOU WANT TO. Although credit is not required, it IS appreciated. This is one of those rare examples where a little credit can make all debts disappear.